Jessica Herron10 months ago
A vote here for Providence, Rhode Island!
1- there's a hub in Providence for anything you're into. There's the Betaspring startup accelerator community ( http://betaspring.com/ ) with side-events such as designer meetup groups and Pecha Kucha, there's the sustainability/business innovation crowds with the awesome conferences Better World by Design ( http://www.abetterworldbydesign.com/ ) and Business Innovation Factory ( http://www.businessinnovationfactory.com/bif-9/live ), if you're a student there's great community around Brown University, RISD, and Johnson and Wales- each outstanding schools in their fields. Oh and if you're a foodie- there's the totally awesome food truck scene ( http://www.thedailymeal.com/when-it-comes-providence-s-food-truck-scene-size-matters ) helped along by a RI entrepreneur who started a national network of them with foodtrucksin.com .
2- I've often found civic engagement at the parks in Rhode Island or along the river that cuts around the base of the college hill through downtown, along with Kennedy Plaza, the central bus-hub and park of downtown Providence. One of the exciting signs of the growth of the city is the plans the city has for reinventing the space, in order to give the space the possibilities for deeper engagements of the community.
3- the best example I can think of would be Cluck!, an urban farm supply store that, while it was trying to open, got bogged down in legal troubles and was about to throw in the towel. The local community rallied around it and raised enough money to help with its problems and it's now a great part of the community! ( http://www.eatdrinkri.com/2012/12/11/support-cluck-urban-farm-supply-on-broadway-in-providence/ )
4- The defining moment for this city would probably be Waterfire: every Saturday evening in the summer, much of the city gathers around the river that, as I mentioned, flows between college hill and downtown. There, in the river, great iron baskets are set at regular intervals in the river, which are filled with wood and, as the sun sets, are lit. Classical music is played over loud speakers and every food vendor and toy hawker comes to feed the Providence residents who line the river's concrete sides to watch the bright fires that are set in the water all the way down the river. Gondolas will even take some passengers or performers down on the water! It's a great event, an intimate moment of reflection for the whole city. http://waterfire.org/
5- I could be wrong here, but I'd probably have to say the Narragansett beer, named after our bay! http://www.narragansettbeer.com/